Among the most difficult parts of moving forward with following your passions in life is attacking the daunting idea of where to start. Many of us have extremely ambitious plans, but they seem so distant and unattainable. I was asked recently to share some of my strategies on how to actually make progress towards fulfilling a goal – something that was always a challenge for me.
- BIG GOAL, SMALL STEPS:
The first thing to understand when attempting to accomplish something big or important, is that it does not all happen at once. There is a process not only to how you do it, but to how you think about it. This seems like an obvious point, but it is important to remind yourself of it as you proceed.
- CONTEXTUALIZE TIME:
Many people get caught in a place of thinking there is not enough time, and end up spending valuable minutes stressing about the lack of time, instead of using what they have. While in every situation time is key, breaking it down is extremely helpful. Bring time down to smaller increments, within which you can accomplish smaller goals that will build up the bigger picture. Instead of saying to yourself you have 1 month to finish something, say you have 4 weeks. Each of those weeks becomes a series of days, hours, minutes etc. When you work in this way, giving your self periods of 30 minutes, for example, to accomplish something, you will start to be productive at a smaller scale. In the larger context of the month, however, you have maximized on the time you really had and can really begin to accomplish a lot.
- POSITIVITY IS KEY:
Way too often we give ourselves a hard time for our shortcomings. While nobody likes to mess up, it is a CRUCIAL part of any life process. It is part of how you learn to be efficient, thorough, and more experienced. So even when you fail at a small task, you are actually being more careful in building the narrative of your larger goal by allowing its pieces to be perfectly developed. Your goal then becomes a system, and your failure becomes a small lesson along the way, to ensure that your system operates at its best possible state. Learn to be positive through hardship, it is one of the most critical parts of moving forward and increasing productivity.
- REMEMBER WHY:
This is the most important of all the points I have discussed till now. I am borrowing some of the ideologies that author Simon Sinek writes about extensively, in his book “START WITH WHY.” When you set a goal for yourself, don’t set it based on what the goal is. Rather, define it through WHY you want to achieve that goal. The difference, while subtle, is actually very important in differentiating to yourself the things that will keep you motivated to keep going. Defining your goal as WHAT you want to accomplish, makes it something external. It becomes a product, a result, a quantifiable output. Understanding WHY you want to accomplish your goal, however, gives it a purpose. A purpose that resonates from inside you. Your brain will actually react differently when you have a full understanding of your purpose in any assignment, task, business endeavor or other ambitious step towards following your passion in life. Always, understand why you do what you do, it is the only way to keep yourself inspired and actually accomplish the things you care about.
- THE IMPORTANCE OF A BREAK:
This is by far the most challenging of all for me personally, as many of those who know me will testify I spend countless nights working non-stop. I have realized however, that when I don’t take care of my health, or am reluctant to take a break, even if it is short, my overall happiness is greatly affected. I am unable to produce the things I wanted to produce, and in addition have sacrificed my health. Understand your existence as a human, and the necessity for you to take care of yourself as a CRITICAL part to maximizing your productivity and taking steps to accomplish your goals.
There are obviously countless other strategies that work, and some will work better for some people than others. These have helped me accomplish many things and I hope they can help you too.
If you have a tip or different strategy please share it in a comment below for all to learn!
To all, good luck taking your first steps towards becoming who you want to be. Everything is possible with enough determination and passion for what you do.